A Wairarapa forensics police officer dusts the store for fingerprints. PHOTO/MARY ARGUE

It’s an unlucky blow for a lucky Lotto shop after being targeted by an early morning smash-and-grab robbery.

Two masked individuals raided Kuripuni’s Lotto and Post Shop on Queen St on Tuesday morning.

The shop is famous for selling multiple winning Lotto tickets over the years, putting millions of dollars in the pockets of Wairarapa families.

CCTV footage showed the thieves smashing through the glass front door at 5.20am and making off with the entire cigarette cabinet in minutes.

The thieves kicked through the right panel of the sliding glass door and, using a hammer and crowbar, pried the cigarettes from the wall before disappearing in a vehicle parked outside.

A Wairarapa forensics police officer said the cameras inside the store and Masterton District Council cameras on the street captured the entire frenzied robbery.

At the scene yesterday morning, the officer was dusting the panels of smashed glass on the ground and front door for fingerprints.

“You can see a couple of people on the cameras. One of them puts his boot through, and it gets caught.

“He pulls a piece of glass away with his bare hands.

“They weren’t in there that long, about three minutes maybe.”

The officer said the dairies had not been the target of robberies recently but said he would not be surprised if the frequency increased, given the rising cost of living.

“They took the entire smokes cabinet. It could be the first of a spate. Who knows.”

He said police would be relying on forensics, including camera footage, to identify the individuals involved.

A police spokesperson said a report of a burglary at commercial premises on Queen St was received shortly after 6am.

“The key holder has found the glass broken on one side of the front door. Unknown what monetary value at this stage. “Police are still investigating.”

Kuripuni Lotto and Post Shop owner Chris, who preferred to be known by his first name only, said he was woken at 6am by security guards alerting him to the theft.

“I got a call saying the alarm was activated.

“I woke up and came straight away.”

Chris, who owns other stores in Lower Hutt, said the Kuripuni shop had been in his possession for four months.

“Nothing like this has happened before.”

He said the thieves had tried to enter via a back door, breaking the handle, before smashing through the front door.

He said he had insurance, and the loss of the cigarettes would be in the “couple of thousands”.

Chris said it was fortunate that more was not taken.

He said the till drawer was open and empty, but the money was stored in a safe at the end of the day.

Cigarette vendors have come under attack in recent years, with the cost of tobacco continuing to rise. A standard packet of cigarettes costs between $30 and $40.

In 2018, one Masterton dairy was robbed three times, and a shop worker at the Ram Superstore in Lansdowne was threatened with a hammer in a raid where an estimated $7000 worth of cigarettes was stolen.



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